Pacific Rallies Late, But Falls 64-57 To UC Riverside
Pacific dropped another heartbreaker for their seventh straight loss on Saturday, January 7 at the Alex G. Spanos Center. With the loss, the Tigers fell to 4-10 and 0-3 in Big West Conference play, while the Highlanders improved to 8-8 overall and 2-1 in conference games.
In a low-scoring affair in the early minutes, junior Markus Duran connected for a three-pointer at the end of the shot clock to tie the game at 5-5 with 15:22 left in the half. Both teams remained scoreless until UC Riverside's Martin made a jumper with 13:19 to break the tie and give the Highlanders a 7-5 lead. Duran dropped in a jump shot from the left side to tie the game again with 12:43 on the clock. UCR responded with consecutive threes, starting an 8-0 run that gave the Highlanders a 15-8 lead with 9:40 left in the half. The Tigers countered with a 6-0 run of their own, cutting the deficit to 15-13 with 7:07 left in the half. Pacific and UC Riverside exchanged baskets over the final 6:37, with the teams matching each other. Junior Trevin Harris scored seven of Pacific's last nine points, but the Tigers headed into the half down 25-22.
UC Riverside's Kareem Nitoto and Tiger junior Travis Fulton each knocked down a pair of three-pointers to start the second half. A quick 5-0 run put UC Riverside up by eight points, but junior Lorenzo McCloud took advantage of space in the lane to drop in a basket and cut the UC Riverside lead to 36-30 with 16:24 remaining in the game. With 12:19 left on the clock, the Highlanders used a 7-0 run to go up 45-31, their largest lead of the game. The Tigers brought the deficit back down to single digits thanks to a 6-2 segment over the next three minutes, highlighted by four points off of junior Ross Rivera. The Highlanders took the lead back up to 12 (50-38) with 7:48 remaining. Over the next six minutes, the Tigers played their best basketball of the evening, outscoring UCR 19-9. Fulton and junior Colin Beatty each scored five points in the stretch as Fulton's three-point play made it 59-57 with 1:10 left to play. UCR's Nitoto scored a basket on the next possession to push the lead back to four (61-57). The Tigers missed six shots from the field in the final minute as the Highlanders snuck away with the victory.
Harris scored a career-high 13 points to lead the Tigers, while Fulton added 13 points and a team-best six rebounds. Rivera was the only other Tiger in double digits, scoring 10 points. Pacific excelled from the bench, outscoring the Highlanders 24-9 in the game.
UC Riverside finished the game shooting 53.8 percent from the field and 69.2 percent from behind the perimeter. The Highlanders outscored Pacific 16-6 in the paint and 6-0 off the fast break.
Pacific is next in action on January 12 at CSU Northridge. Tip-off is at 7:00 pm from Northridge, Calif. Listen live at www.pacifictigers.com.